Brooklyn duo Belle Mare is Amelia Bushell and Thomas Servidone. The pair have been creating music around NYC for the past few years after having met at an open mic. Their sound is a blend of “a sprawling model of wistful dream pop” (The New York Times) and “pensive acoustic tunesmithing” (NewYorkMusicDaily.com). We can’t wait to hear Amelia and Thomas perform in our main space on July 30th. Check out the full interview below.
You guys met at an open mic in Brooklyn a few years ago and immediately clicked. How did you get introduced to each other and how did the idea of forming a band together come about?
A: The confident Tom strolled right up to me and my musical partner at the time and said “Hey guys, do you have any demos?” I said no, so he suggested recording some for us. A really tough looking woman at the bar butted in and told us we better be careful if we were going to meet up with Tom again. So we brought a “bodyguard” to Tom’s house the first time we went over to record. My co-singer ended up travelling to India, and I was going through a point where I had no choice but to write. I would go to Tom’s every weekend and we would record my songs, and eventually started writing more together. Before we knew it we had an album and were playing shows.
T: She loves telling that story 🙂 I had no idea I was that creepy.
How does Belle Mare’s music style differ from your the music you made as solo artists before meeting up? Are there any similarities in style or did you take it in a whole new direction?
A: My solo stuff before Belle Mare was a lot more grungy. I had just moved home from graduating from boarding school and made two really close friends that summer. We did everything together, so I wrote about us becoming some sort of three musketeers gang doing whatever the hell we wanted. I wrote a lot on consciousness and things that were not heartbreak. Belle Mare’s first EP consisted almost entirely of feelings of heartbreak. Then I started a band with a friend and we called it “Beachtits.” It was garage-rock/punk and I played drums and sang. Jess my friend played guitar and we basically just screamed into the mics about boys, beaches, lipstick and cigarettes. I was living alone in an empty house at the time. All that was there were beds and my instruments. I had a party one night and everyone started playing the instruments. I started singing. Someone told me I had a beautiful voice. That was the first time I’d ever heard that.
T: When I first met Amelia I was finishing up recording an album with a band called Heirlooms in Connecticut. It had a lot more of a folk aspect to it but I feel like the destination I wanted to land in as a songwriter is where I ended up by way of meeting Amelia. She was sort of the missing piece in the puzzle. There are certainly differences in our music, but mostly they’re slight and personally they are very much welcome and I feel like our music benefits from it.
How was it like working with Tom Elmhirst and Ben Baptie on your album? What are some valuable lessons they’ve taught you?
A: They are both incredibly inspiring and talented people. The one lesson I learned from them above all others is that you need to work extremely fucking hard at what you do. If you live and breathe your passion you will be rewarded.
T: The opportunity they presented us was beyond generous and completely changed our lives. Just having their confidence meant the world to us. We spent a lot of time with Ben during the recording, and many nights just shooting the shit, chatting and he taught me so much about the industry and was always willing to dish out advice. Ben is just one of those people that you gain so much from just being around him. He’s an incredible talent, a great friend and one of the truest people you’ll find.
On The Rise at LPR is dedicated to showcasing up and coming bands from the NYC area music scene. What are some local influences for you at the moment? Any bands that you are particularly interested in?
A: I love Beverly, Dinowalrus, and our pals Streets of Laredo.
T: Yeah, Streets are awesome, wonderful band and gang. Im a big fan of Wilder Maker and Pamela Martinez of Teletextile. And of course our keyboardist Tara Rook, she goes by ROOK and she just dropped an album, its beautiful.
Your album that has been long in the making is set to come out this summer. What are your plans after that? Are you planning to play more shows or take some time off?
A: I want to write as much as possible! We’ve had way too much time off it’s time to get stuck in.
T: Were definitely going to play some more shows in the fall. While Im really excited to showcase the album to a live audience, and that whole avenue – Im so looking forward to dig in and continue making more music. But yeah Im thinking a bit of a retreat is in order, a stay upstate or something where we can really have some quiet to work and drink some wine and laugh and just enjoy the process. That’s what it’s all about really.
Belle Mare plays on July 30th with Salt Cathedral, Arthur Moon, and the Britpop Choir as part of LPR’s growing On The Rise series. Tickets for the performance are on sale here.